WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | Sports

NFL Draft Looms for Linemen with Local Ties

A year ago, Mel Kiper, Jr. -- ESPN's resident NFL Draft guru -- was talking about Virginia offensive tackle Oday Aboushi as a potential first round pick in 2013.

But in the months since that projection, Aboushi's stock has slid in the eyes of talent evaluators and, more importantly, NFL teams. On the eve of Thursday's first round of the 2013 draft, both NFL.com and ESPN.com released full seven-round mock drafts on Wednesday. And in both mock drafts, Aboushi fell to Saturday's Round 5.

The NFL.com mock draft predicts the San Diego Chargers will take Aboushi with the No. 12 pick in the fifth round, while ESPN.com projects the Cincinnati Bengals to use the 25th pick in Round 5 on Aboushi.

Evaluators are also torn on Aboushi's future position in the NFL. Aboushi started the last 37 games at offensive tackle the past three seasons for the Cavaliers. But many draft analysts, including ESPN's Kiper, predict Aboushi will move inside to guard at the pro level.

Another offensive lineman in the 2013 class with central Virginia ties -- St. Anne's-Belfield alum Kyle Long -- is headed in the opposite direction from Aboushi as draft weekend approaches.

Long only started five games in his lone season at Oregon, but he's regarded by most websites as one of the five best guard prospects in this year's draft. Earlier this week, Kiper wrote that he wouldn't be surprised if Long was taken late in Thursday's first round.

The two seven-round mock drafts released Wednesday had Long being taken on Friday. ESPN.com said the Dallas Cowboys would select Long with the 15th pick in Round 2, while NFL.com projected the Jacksonville Jaguars to use the second pick in Round 3 on Long.

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